ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — More than 52,000 kids in New Mexico – about 10 percent of the state’s child population – have had a parent who at some point in their lives served time in jail or prison, according to a new Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a national advocacy organization working to improve the lives of at-risk children and families.
Nationwide, more than 5 million children have had a parent incarcerated.
New Mexico’s rate is higher than the national average of 7 percent and gives the state a third-place ranking in that niche demographic, tied with Alaska, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Only Indiana, with 11 percent, and Kentucky, with 13 percent, have a larger percentage. The states that fared the best are New Jersey, with 3 percent, New York, with 4 percent, and California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Utah – all with 5 percent.
The rate of incarcerated parents in New Mexico has been steadily rising since the 1980s, even though crime has been steadily decreasing in the state since the late 1990s, according to the report.
Veronica C. García, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, the Casey Foundation’s Kids Count grantee in New Mexico, said that many families in our state lack the financial resources to cover basic needs, including food and housing. “Having a parent in jail or prison is emotionally traumatic. So much so that parental incarceration is recognized as one of the adverse childhood experiences that can have long-lasting effects on a child’s development and well-being.”
Support your local Albuquerque Journal & Rick Nathanson SUBSCRIBE NOW cancel anytime